[Tweeters] Skagit W Grebes, whale

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 13 18:20:29 PDT 2013

Dear Tweeters,
Today (13 October 2013) Mrs. Bletsch and I went birding. Scott Atkinson was just leaving Fisher Slough as we arrived, and when he told me that the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers weren't there, we moved on. It turned out that I dipped on them, but oh well--we skipped the Game Range to avoid the hunters.
At Green Point, we saw a whale! People always ask me when I am scoping birds there, "Are you looking for whales?" I had never ever seen a whale there from the shore, in scores if not hundreds of visits. Today, though, we noticed a whale-watching boat staying in one spot, with all hands on deck, so we scoped it out. I am embarrassed to say that I don't know if it was a Grey or a Humpback, but it was huge, with a goodly spout, and big old flukes. It stayed there for a good twenty minutes, spouting, lolling at the surface, and so forth. I tend to think it was a Grey, but it was way out there, and I really don't have much experience with ID-ing these beasts.
The other great thing about today was that a few WESTERN GREBES finally showed up. This was at March Point. There were about 60 of them. For a species that used to show up in the thousands, they have declined drastically in the Salish Sea. These were the first I'd seen in Skagit County this year. Formerly, I would have expected to see my first Western Grebes of the year sometime in January.
Another cool bird, but this one in a not-so-cool habitat, was an Anna's Hummingbird in the parking lot at the Costco in Burlington!
Yours truly,
Gary Bletsch

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